15 yrs on, no end in sight for Charminar pedestrian plan
Hyderabad: Fifteen years after it was launched, there’s no sign of the Charminar Pedestrianisation Project being completed, and the costs continue to mount.
“The project is now expected to cost Rs 400 crore (original estimate was Rs 139 crore)”, said Srinivas Rao, additional chief city planner (CCP). The work has stopped at a point which is doing no good to either the monument or the commuters.
“There are ongoing irritants like stay orders obtained by building owners, especially one near Mitti-Ka-Sher, because of which traffic cannot be diverted,” the CCP said.
“There are buildings housing popular outlets like Café Coffee Day, religious buildings and small jewellery shops, that are yet to be acquired,” said R. Dhan Singh, the engineer-in-chief, GHMC.
“Every time the work resumed, I felt it would now take off and we would finally get a completely vehicle-free zone to experience peaceful shopping... But the work just goes on for a while and stops without much development,” said Nadia Firdous, a resident of Talab Katta.
“When one visits Charminar, one would want to take a detailed look at the heritage monument from some distance. But it is very difficult to even stand and click a photograph as one might get hit by vehicles that move in a chaotic manner,” said Suzanne, a German tourist.
The resistance to re-carpeting the road and partitioning it from Gulzar Houz is also a problem.
“We cannot afford to lose customers anymore. There is no guarantee that if we sacrifice, the project will be completed,” said a jewellery trader, who did not want to be named.
Two years ago, the cobblestone-laying activity was strongly objected to by the traders as the time taken for the work to be completed nearly six months would have severely affected their business.
Not surprisingly, law and order authorities want a quick end to this impasse. Syam Sundar, DCP Charminar traffic police, said, “CPP, when implemented, would really be a boon. As of now, however, traffic cannot be diverted because of the incompletion of road-widening, due to a building that’s got the stay order.”